As RTS games go, everything just seems to get more and more complicated as the years go by. Sure we've got state-of-the-art graphics that can literally put players in another world with its surprising pseudo-realism, but whatever happened to the good old days when all you ever had to worry about were three buttons: harvest, build, and attack?
Oddlabs' Tribal Trouble takes a look back at the simpler days when RTS games weren't chores to learn and was just another fun exercise in gaming. Doing away with the complicated menus and tech trees, this game puts you in command of either the red-nosed and haphazard Vikings or the restless Natives faction.
The game's simplified feel becomes one of its best features for those gamers who are tired of playing the graphics- and specs-intensive RTS games coming out nowadays. Also, the more casual gamers can easy get into it with its easy gameplay and caricature graphics.
When Muppets go to war
At first glance, the game's animated and cute, colorful graphics will take you back to your days of watching Sesame Street... at least until the first axe or spear is thrown. While most of the characters in the game may remind you of the lovable Muppets, there's nothing wholesome about their war-like nature to go at each other like Animal on crack.
The developers at Oddlabs did an outstanding job by going out on a limb in creating their own 3D engine for the game. The game runs off relatively low specs and can still render a decent framerate despite the island teeming with Vikings and Natives.
Considering the number of awards Tribal Trouble has raked in since its release, it pretty much paid off in the long run; something very commendable for an indie game developer.
Couple this with the flexible, yet easy to pick up gameplay mechanics, and you've got an RTS which draws in casual gamers while still appealing to the more veteran strategy gamers at the same time.
Introducing: the deadly "chicken weapons"
Hardcore RTS gamers may feel a little turned off with the fact that the game doesn't offer a lot in terms of unit and building variety. However, the game's simplicity is actually one of its stronger points.
Doing away with heavy GUIs and cumbersome stats, the only real thing you have to worry about is micromanaging the number of peons that you have to assign with either gathering or producing goods that you can use to make a suitable war band.
Tribal Trouble offers 5 different unit types (A peon, three different warrior types, and one hero chieftain unit) that you can build per faction. There are no major differences between the different units between the Vikings and the Natives, except when it comes to the different special abilities your chieftains can use.
The minimalist gameplay balances everything out, however. Much like any RTS game, managing your resources while defending your resources becomes the biggest concern for gamers who want to excel in Tribal Trouble.
What's more, because of the map's limited space, you'll eventually end up harvesting wood and rocks in the opponent's backyard if you're not careful. Which is why micromanaging your peons is a big factor in this game.
On a special note, this blogger really has to go out on a limb by saying that whoever thought of using tropical chickens as actual weapons for the game should be crowned as a game developer god. Nothing is more feared in the game as a chicken warrior going postal on your troops.
The Natives are restless
The beauty of the game comes together when you pit yourself against other human opponents with real-time tactics, all the while still trying to manage your resources and your troops.
The somewhat straightforward computer AI is somewhat easy to take down if you're familiar with the classic "Tower Defense" and blitz tactics from other RTS games. However, try that against another human opponent on a small island with limited resources, and you've got peons scrambling over the island while your warriors try to rally a good defense against the numerous calculated strikes against your territory.
You'll definitely get a laugh seeing your humorously animated army go through a repeated battle of attrition and see which side weathers it out in the end.
Chief Fjorlief approves
All in all, Tribal Trouble is a fun game that's easy to pick up and well worth the short time it takes to learn and master. While the game is a bit short after finishing the two campaigns, there's always the option to try your hand at some tribal warfare against the computer or some human opponents.
Some quirky game behaviors may need some time to get used to, especially if you're coming from one of the bigger RTS titles released nowadays, but this blogger realizes that it's all part of the game's charm and really draws you into it by sharpening those mad micromanaging skills of yours.
For those of you looking for a simple game without the complexities of which unit does what, then Tribal Trouble is worth looking into. Casual gamers in particular will find the game's cute animated graphics and simple gameplay a good way to ease them into the normally competitive RTS genre.
Tribal Trouble is available for both the PC and Mac and is priced at US$ 29.95. The Oddlabs website is also offering a US$ 5 volume discount for every registration key that you order off them. So grab a friend and see which tribe is stronger.